Makabayan bloc slams Duterte’s threat to defund UP

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Makabayan Bloc representatives on Wednesday slammed President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat to defund the University of the Philippines after some of its students and faculty called for an academic strike.

Kabataan party-list Representative Sarah Elago said that the students’ concerns were valid due to the impact of the pandemic and the recent typhoons.

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“Ang panawagan ng mga kabataan at kaguruan ngayon ay national academic break bilang national policy. Nasa ilalim ng state of calamity ang buong Luzon dahil sa epekto ng bagyo,” Elago said.

“Hirap na hirap na din ang mga kabataan at kaguruan sa palpak na programa sa edukasyon ng pamahalaan sa gitna ng pandemya. Pakinggan natin sila at ‘wag takutin at gawing hostage ang pondo ng mga unibersidad,” she added.

On Tuesday, President Rodrigo  threatened to withdraw the funding of the  (UP).

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He also accused UP of recruiting communist rebels inside their campus.

“‘Yung mga eskwelahan, UP, fine. Maghinto kayo ng aral, I will stop the funding. Wala nang ginawa itong ano kundi mag-recruit ng mga komunista diyan,” he said in his weekly address.

For Bayan Muna party-list Representative Ferdinand Gaite. the President’s remark only further showed “how detached he is from the people.”

Makabayan bloc slams Duterte’s threat to defund UP

“Bumaba siya sa helicopter niya at makinig sa hinaing ng taumbayan, baka sakaling maintindihan niya kung saan nanggagaling itong mga kabataang nagpo-protesta,” he said.

“Bayan Muna will continue supporting the academic strike, and all the efforts to help our fellow Filipinos affected by the typhoon, especially those led by the youth,” he added.

ACT Teachers party-list Representative France Castro urged Duterte to take the students’ concerns seriously and not dismiss them by defunding threats and red-tagging.

“Mula pa sa prioritization ng mga programa sa 2021 national budget, hanggang sa pagtugon nito sa mga kagyat na panawagan para sa ayuda sa mga nasalanta, wala tayong nakikitang kahit katititing na pakialam mula sa administrasyong Duterte,” she said.

“This administration should know that it is the state’s responsibility to provide the youth access to their right to quality education. Threats of defunding the premier public university violates the youth’s right to education,” she added.

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